there! Something has happened,” said I.
something has happened!” said Gilbert.
the current here was not too strong to make a crossing. We
unloaded our canoe as quickly as possible, and Gilbert paddled across
to the young voyageurs on the opposite shore, while the Judge and I
anxiously awaited their return.
they came presently Gilbert’s face was grave, and the two boys were
shaking with emotion as they stepped ashore.
is lost! All is l-o-s-t!” exclaimed Henry.
all is lost! Ev-rything!” echoed Murdock.
saved your lives,” said I, laughing at the doleful expression the two
boys wore, “so cheer up. We can stand the rest. But what’s
is gone!” declared Henry, his voice wavering and his face reflecting
the strong excitement under which he labored, as a result of their
trying adventure. “The grub, the cooking outfit, the tent,
the ax, our sleeping bags, and my shotgun—all are lost!”
about the canoe?” I asked.
smashed! Ruined!” exclaimed Henry.
broke in Murdock, “She’s busted. I’m thinking she’s
not so far gone we can’t mend her though. Jack Robinson has
got everything else.”
Robinson” is the Labrador woodsman’s synonym for the seaman’s “Davy
Jones’ locker. Anything discarded or lost in the wilderness
is said to have gone to Jack Robinson.
much relieved,” said the judge, laughing so heartily that the somber
faces of the boys lighted somewhat. “I really feared there
had been some great calamity—or perhaps that you had seen a ghost, or
something—and I was startled at first. Let’s go up to the
tent and talk it over. There’s a way out of every fix.”
filed up to the tent, where, free from the annoyance of flies, which
were very troublesome outside, we seated ourselves in circle to hold
I asked, “What caused the trouble? Tell us about it.”
was traveling on Sunday, sir” said one of the boys with profound
solemnity. “I knew something would happen. It’s
always bad luck to travel Sunday.”
we left the post on Friday,” said another.
I agreed, “and I left home on Friday to catch the steamer from New York
the next day; the Judge and I sailed from St. John’s on Friday; we
reached Indian Harbor and went ashore on Friday; and we left the post
on Friday. We’ve had a string of Fridays this trip, but I
don’t think we can ascribe our hard luck to them any more than going
out on Sunday. Charles Dickens used to declare Friday was his
luckiest day. It’s my lucky day too. So is Sunday
and most other days, except now and again when things go wrong, and
that is likely to happen any day in the week. To-day is
Wednesday, and if the canoe is out of commission we shall have to put
Wednesday on our list of very unlucky days. But how did it
happen? Did you run afoul of rocks?”
sir, said Murdock, “in a bad place just below here.”
about the canoe?” What shape is she in?”
of the ribs and planks are smashed, whatever, and I don’t know whether
she’s any more good or not. We got her out, though.”
seen some bad water,” declared Gilbert, “but I never saw a river like
this. ‘Tisn’t because there’s so much water, but it’s the way
it comes. They calls the Gull Island rapids in the Grand
River bad, but most any of the rapids we’ve been through here is a good
deal worse than she.”
Grand’s an easy river,” agreed Henry “Last year I took my
winter outfit up to my trappin’ grounds in thirteen days from the post,
and that isn’t much short of the falls. The Gull Island rapid
ain’t bad beside of these. I tracks through the rapid without
minding it. But these!” and Henry shook his head solemnly.
Gilbert,” I suggested, “suppose you go down with the boys and look the
canoe over, and if you fellows think she can be repaired, fetch her
back and let’s see what can be done with her. We won’t move
don’t know,” said Gilbert, “about going up this river. The
Indians said we couldn’t make it, and I’m thinking
now we can’t.”
looks worse above than it does here,” agreed Murdock. “We
can’t keep going against this sort of river long.”
don’t mind traveling a river when I can track and there’s some end to
the rapids,” continued Gilbert. “On the Grand now there’s just one bad
portage around Muskrat Falls, but you can track the rest of the river,
and one man can do it alone, and there’s a lot of good
paddling. Here there ain’t no paddling or much tracking
either. It’s mostly a swimming trip. It keeps all
of us in the water all the time, and it’s just taking the life out of
us. The Grand now is a decent river, as Henry says.
Why over there one man could do the tracking and steering to, with a
line to the bow and another to the stern, and get along fine.
I never saw a river like this one, though, unless it’s the
Susan. Nobody has ever been here before but Indians, and they
wouldn’t come except on snowshoes. They wouldn’t come on a
river like this with a canoe. They know better.”
first under fire an’ you’re wishful to duck,
look nor take ‘eed of the man that is struck;
thankful you’re livin’, and trust to your luck,
march to your front like a soldier,”
the Judge. “There’s an end to the rapids somewhere, so cheer
up boys. Don’t get discouraged at a little thing like
this. It’s the first set-back.”
so, there’s an end to the rapids, and let us hope not far away,” I
encouraged. “Where Hubbard and I portaged into this river
somewhere up above here it was a very good canoeing river, and it was
good all the way from where we entered it to the lakes at the
source. Down here it isn’t any worse than the Susan, and see
how we bucked that in 1903, and got through, too. We’ve got
to get through here and set the bronze tablet in position.”
we’ve got to do that,” seconded the
judge. We can’t be quitters.”
we can’t be quitters, and we mustn’t talk about turning back”, I urged.
want to get that bronze tablet up too,” Gilbert agreed. “I’ll
stick to the river as long as there’s a chance of getting on at all.
The lower part of the Susan, as far as I saw it, was just as bad as
go on too,” volunteered Murdock, who had regained much of his
characteristic good spirits and cheerfulness. “If the canoe
can be fixed, I can stand it as long as she can.”
do you say, Henry? I asked.
stay with the boys,” agreed Henry.
you boys,” said I.
Chapter XXI: Worst Country For Game
I Ever Saw